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Testing the Use of Static Chamber Boxes to Monitor Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wood Chip Storage Heaps

Whittaker, Carly, Yates, Nicola E., Powers, Stephen J., Donovan, Neil, Misselbrook, Tom, Shield, Ian
BioEnergy research 2017 v.10 no.2 pp. 353-362
carbon dioxide, gases, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, methane, monitoring, stainless steel, temperature, wood chips
This study explores the use of static chamber boxes to detect whether there are fugitive emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from a willow chip storage heap. The results from the boxes were compared with those from 3-m stainless steel probes inserted into the core of the heap horizontally and vertically at intervals. The results from probes showed that there were increases of carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentrations in the heap over the first 10 days after heap establishment, which were correlated with a temperature rise to 60 °C. As the CO₂ declined, there was a small peak in methane (CH₄) concentration in probes orientated vertically in the heap. Static chambers positioned at the apex of the heap detected some CO₂ fluxes as seen in the probes; however, the quantities were small and random in nature. A small (maximum 5 ppm) flux in CH₄ occurred at the same time as the probe concentrations peaked. Overall, the static chamber method was not effective in monitoring fluxes from the heap as there was evidence that gases could enter and leave around the edges of the chambers during the course of the experiment. In general, the use of standard (25 cm high) static chambers for monitoring fluxes from wood chip heaps is not recommended.